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Message and methods
One of the most-important aspects of initiating any change to your business is to keep it from becoming boring. In many cases, alterations to rules and regulations don't hurt a company nearly as much as poor planning and implementation.
For many mortgage companies, the challenge of implementing change effectively is made more complicated by the search for a cost-effective learning management system. When deciding whether this type of system fits your needs, you also should assess your company's overall goals.
Consider the following questions as you plan for how to best implement change:
• Can my current technology or other approach to change-implementation grow effectively if my business expands?
• Do I have the equipment and personnel necessary to manage new technology in-house or would a contract with a third-party learning-management-system supplier be more suitable?
• Is my current approach user-friendly?
• Is it secure, stable and flexible?
• Can new training materials or modules be added as necessary?
Although electronic learning systems can reduce travel expenses, individual teaching time and physical-space requirements, they involve other costs that should be compared to the savings experienced. Startup costs can range from $7,000 to more than $100,000 depending on your company's size and your specific needs.
Another option is to use an open-source content-management system to create your own training system. This approach can let you develop exactly what you want but likely will require the skills of a competent computer programmer.
It's critical to make new information as lively, fresh and transparent as possible. Although you may tire of describing a recent change repeatedly to different people, you must recall that each new person is hearing from you for the first time. In some cases, gaining a new referral partner or attracting new clients could hinge on your aptitude for making mundane topics interesting and exciting.
Whether you're discussing regulatory changes, codes of ethics or risk management, you'll likely hear many of the same questions repeatedly. Rather than become frustrated, perfect your answers and figure out how to give them some pizzazz.
Educating others about change and helping them cope with its effects presents challenges and opportunities. This includes your method of delivery as much as your message.
By and large, the days of going to an office with a box of doughnuts and a slide presentation are long gone. Today, delivering information quickly and through a variety of media is paramount. Here are a few of your options:
Teleconference: This option works well when a simple conversation will deliver information adequately. In many cases, it's the least expensive way to educate a large group of people.
Webinar: Many online tools help you lead webinars effectively. Much like teleconferences, these presentations allow remote communication. They also allow visual presentations. Presenters can take typed-in questions or have a moderator handle audio questions. One challenge with webinars, however, is making sure people know how to register. Be sure to record your webinars for future education and self-evaluation.
Self-paced online courses: This method — sometimes called learning management systems — lets attendees complete training at their own pace and during their chosen time slot. It also allows information to be delivered by text, recorded session, screenshot and more. Because of its self-paced nature, online education often is the best way to deliver large amounts of data effectively.
Some training companies offering online options let you upload content or license theirs. When considering these alternatives, find out if they let you track who has completed specific education segments. This is especially important for ongoing mandatory training necessary for regulatory compliance. (See sidebar on Page 22 for more information about what to consider when shopping for these solutions.)
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Mortgage brokers and loan originators know all about change. Those who adjust to regulatory and other shifts effectively — including those implemented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — can gain competitive advantages and establish market dominance. In many cases, the biggest challenge isn't the change itself but how you deal with it.
an education specialist with Go2Training, develops training programs for many companies, including Plaza Home Mortgage, OnlineEd and Mortgage Success Source. Formerly with Dale Carnegie Training, Bell has more than 20 years' experience leading workshops in public speaking, leadership, customer service, sales and continuing education. Bell is a Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS)-approved instructor and has received education awards from the California and Oregon associations of mortgage professionals. Reach her at email@example.com or visit www.go2training.com.
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